Former Davis Langdon partner heads new business advising big City tenants and residential sector

Deloitte will compete with leading QS firms by launching a construction cost consultancy business headed by former Davis Langdon partner, Neill Morrison.

The 10-man team will grow to 50 by poaching senior consultants from other firms over the next three to four years, and seeks to challenge the “formulaic” way QSs normally work.

Morrison, who was managing partner of Davis Langdon’s commercial “blue team” in London, said that the business would offer strategic advice to big City tenants and the residential sector, with a team made up of “the very best people in the industry.”

“These people [from Deloitte] are very bright, so I show them only the very best people,” he said.

Three members in addition to Morrison have arrived from Davis Langdon, including Michael Cracknell, a former director, as well as Simon Willis, former Gardiner & Theobald partner.

“I’m finding that I can attract other people from almost every other consultant,” Morrison said, although he added that he was not intending to poach any more people from Davis Langdon.

“Too often clients challenge my profession and it does not deliver,” he said, adding that quantity surveying was often a business that people “fall into”.

“We are developing cost models that I have never seen before. We are starting with a fresh piece of paper each time,” he said.

The team will work with the construction arm of Drivers Jonas Deloitte (DJD), which already does project management and building surveying. DJD was formed after Deloitte bought property services group Drivers Jonas in January 2010.

Mike Cuthbert, project management partner in DJD, said Morrison’s team will win work partly through Deloitte clients: “Other cost consultants don’t have the ’in’ that Deloitte does”.

Other parts of Deloitte will advise on sustainability, tax and planning, aiming to create a unique service to compete with QS firms that are often “too formulaic”, Cuthbert said.